As China rolled out a 5G network on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to improve its communication and data networks, the Indian Army has also begun setting up 4G and 5G-based mobile cellular networks at the heights of 18,000 feet.
The Indian Army has put out a Request For Information (RFI) asking for bids from companies to provide technology for 4G and 5G mobile cellular network in the tough terrain.
“The intended network will be used by field formations of the Indian Army in the mountainous/semi-mountainous/high altitude region (up to 18,000 feet). The network is envisaged to provide reliable and secure voice messaging and data services to support operational requirements of field formations,” the RFI says.
12 months contract
The Army is looking at delivery of the network, including execution, within 12 months of a contract being signed.
It is pertinent to mention that Army has been facing mobile communication issues at forward locations in high-altitude areas.
Sources in the defense and security establishment said that while a secure radio frequency is available along with satellite mode, a 4G and 5G network is needed as this will help faster communication and data transfer.
The chinese army laid down the fiber-optic cables for the better communication at LAC when tension broke out between the both countries in eastern Ladakh in 2020.
Ladakhis seek better mobile communication
The Ladakh region nestled in the Himalayas has been facing communication issues amid a tense stand-off between India and China over the last two years. They have demanded that the facility like 4G should be started there.
In November last year, Councillor Konchok Stanzin, representing Chushul in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, had handed over a three-page letter with demands to defense minister Rajnath Singh, who was in the village to inaugurate the revamped Rezang La War Memorial .
It also mentions that Stanzin sought a 4G tower for each of the nine villages in Chushul, besides fiber-optic cables.
In June this year, the 4G network was introduced in some forward parts of Ladakh.
Reliance Jio had expanded the reach of its 4G services in the Ladakh region to a village close to Pangong lake by setting up a mobile tower.
5G services in India by March 2023
India is expected to get full-fledged 5G services by March 2023, Union communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at an event last month.
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